Magic Johnson criticizes Lakers’ Jim Buss, says he needs help to be great owner
You never know what Magic Johnson is going to say.
But you always know he wants the Lakers to win. Badly.
The minority owner of the Dodgers criticized one of the Lakers’ owners Tuesday, and it wasn’t the first time.
“I’m going to say it again: I love Jim Buss. He should just be the owner, like his dad was just the owner,” Johnson said. “Let’s go back with facts, so I can back this up with facts: 27 wins a couple years ago, 21 wins last year. Three summers now, we haven’t signed anybody. I am backing this up with facts. We haven’t signed any superstar. We’ve had cap space. We had cap space last summer. We’re going to have more this summer.”
Johnson, who led the Lakers to five championships as a player, was speaking after the Dodgers’ introductory news conference for new Manager Dave Roberts.
“You’ve got to get somebody to help [Buss] out,” said Johnson, an unpaid Lakers vice president. “Just play your role. There’s nothing wrong with being a great owner.
“Just like me — I didn’t try to get involved in this [hiring] process, because I don’t know anything about the manager [Roberts]. That’s not what I know, so I stay out of the way. I want to sit down there and cheer for my Dodgers. I’m happy with that. That is what I want him to do. Just let somebody else help him to achieve his goal, which is to get the Lakers back to being great again.”
Lakers forward Kobe Bryant goes by a leaping Nerlens Noel and makes a reverse layup.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant waves to the crowd after a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
76ers post player Jahlil Okafor reacts during a game against the Lakers.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Former NBA player Julius Erving, left, and Kobe Bryant’s Lower Merion High School coach Gregg Downer, third from left, present Bryant, second left, a framed jersey before a game against the 76ers.(Charles Fox / Associated Press)
Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell (1) dribbles around a screen set by Kobe Bryant (24) on 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11).(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Lakers forward Kobe Bryant waits by the bench prior to a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson, left, and forward Kobe Bryant, right, restrain the 76ers’ JaKarr Sampson after an altercation with Lakers center Roy Hibbert (not pictured).(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Lakers’ aging star Kobe Bryant, right, is embraced by former NBA player Julius Erving before a game against the 76ers.(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson attempts a shot over 76ers forward Nerlens Noel during a game on Dec. 1.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
76ers center Jahlil Okafor shoots over Lakers power forward Brandon Bass.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
76ers’ forward Nerlens Noel (4) tries to shoot against Lakers’ defenders D’Angelo Russell (1), Julius Randle (30) and Roy Hibbert (17) during the first half.(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
Kobe Bryant practices his shot before a Dec. 1 game against the 76ers in Philadelphia.(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)
76ers’ Jahlil Okafor (8), Jerami Grant (39) and Robert Covington (33) react after a timeout during a game against the Lakers.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Fans hold up Kobe Bryant signs before the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
76ers center Jahlil Okafor dribbles the ball base line against Lakers center Roy Hibbert.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
76ers guard T.J. McConnell drives past Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant ahead of a basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers.(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)
76ers forward Jerami Grant blocks the shot of Lakers forward Metta World Peace.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Lakers star Kobe Bryant smiles as he jogs to the bench during the first half.(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
Philadelphia fans hold up signs for Kobe Bryant during a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.(Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
Okafor vs. Russell
The side story was swept away. This was Kobe Bryant’s last NBA game in his hometown.
Jahlil Okafor had a slightly bigger impact than D’Angelo Russell in a matchup of the third and second overall draft picks Tuesday.
Okafor started slowly, initially stymied by Roy Hibbert’s length, but scored six points in the final seven minutes of the Lakers’ 103-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers deliberated between drafting Russell and Okafor, going for the star potential of the Ohio State point guard rather than the safe choice of the Duke center.
“I thought he had the chance to be a player that’s going to play in this league 10, 12, 13 years,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said of Okafor. “He was very talented in the post and he shocked me with the fact that he could shoot it from about 15, 16 feet in our workouts.”
Okafor had 12 points on six-for-14 shooting Tuesday. Russell had 12 points on five-for-14 shooting.
LAKERS AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS
When: Wednesday, 4 p.m. PST.
Where: Verizon Center.
On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Record vs. Wizards (2014-15): 0-2.
Update: The Lakers have lost five consecutive games against the Wizards, their last victory coming in 2012. Despite a young, promising backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards weren’t off to a great start. But they won at Cleveland on Tuesday, 97-85, as Wall had 35 points and 10 assists. Cleveland had been 9-0 at home this season.
Bresnahan reported from Philadelphia, Shaikin from Los Angeles.
All things Lakers, all the time.
Get all the Lakers news you need in Tania Ganguli's weekly newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.